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Entrepreneur says his Sask. pot dispensary will look 'like an Apple Store'

Allen Kilback says his customers will browse pot varieties at iPad stations.

Customers will browse through pot varieties on iPads, says Allen Kilback

Allen Kilback, left, who is planning to open a marijuana retail store in the Rural Municipality of Edenwold, Sask., went on a research trip to California to tour cannabis farms and consider the demographic for his shop. (Submitted by Allen Kilback)

Allen Kilback doesn't know yet what his cannabis dispensary in the Rural Municipality of Edenwold will be called.

But he's got his main demographic picked out: women aged 30 to 40.

He settled on that during a recent research trip to California, where he watched customers stream into one of that state's legal recreational pot stores.

"People pull up with their kids in the car and they go in," he said.  

Familiar faces

Normalizing the process of buying pot is part of what Kilback, 52, wants to do alongside his wife and business partner, Denise.

"I spent some time in U.S. looking at the industry and decided, you know what, I saw a tremendous opportunity to really change the stigma about the industry and got super motivated," he said.

The Kilbacks' company, New Horizon Group of Companies, was awarded a shot at the only cannabis store permit for the rural municipality, with a population of 4,490 people living about 28 kilometres northeast of Regina. 

Kilback will co-own the dispensary with his wife and business partner, Denise. The couple already owns a grocery store and liquor store in Pilot Butte. (Submitted by Allen Kilback)

The couple is no stranger to the area: they were both born and raised in Saskatchewan, where they raised hogs and have since transitioned to real estate.

They operate a grocery store and "experimental" liquor store in Pilot Butte, where customers can lounge by a fireplace.

A similarly chill atmosphere is planned for the cannabis store.

"More like an Apple store," said Kilback. "We've got an area where you can come and sit down. We'll have several iPads that they can zoom through and have a look at all the products we have, descriptions about them."

'First round of security'

Customers will initially enter the store through a vestibule where their IDs will be checked — the "first round of security," said Kilback.

The Saskatchewan government has set 19 as the legal age for consuming pot.

The municipality recently set 200 metres as the legal buffer between stores and schools, churches, daycares, parks and playgrounds.

That's three times the length of the buffer established in Saskatoon, but on par with the buffer Prince Albert is poised to approve next week.

Kilback says his store will employ about 12 people and be ready to open for Oct. 17, the date for cannabis legalization in Canada. 

Corrections

  • A previous version of this story incorrectly identified where the dispensary will be located. It will be in the Rural Municipality of Edenwold, not the village of Edenwold.
    Aug 05, 2018 11:23 AM CT

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

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